Your potential clients may be unaware that you exist if your website does not appear on the first page of Google, Bing, or Yahoo search results. Improved search engine exposure can help you improve website visitors, which can lead to increased brand awareness, sales, and profitability.
What if you don’t have the time or technical know-how to boost your site’s search engine ranking? Hiring an experienced, dependable search engine optimization (SEO) consultant might be a good idea.
Here are 10 essential questions to ask when considering prospective SEO consultants:
Is it possible to get a list of your current and previous clients?
A competent SEO consultant should be willing to share a brief list of current and former clients as well as his or her contact details.
These references can assist you to determine the candidate’s effectiveness as well as confirm that the person worked on certain SEO initiatives. Clients may not be able to provide specific metrics, but they should be able to tell you if the consultant’s efforts resulted in a favorable influence on their search ranking, particularly in terms of conversions and audience growth.
What strategies will you use to boost my search engine rankings?
It is advised that business owners stay away from SEO experts who won’t freely share their methodologies in depth. They should describe the tactics they’ll employ to improve your website’s search engine rating, as well as provide an estimate of how long it’ll take to meet the SEO campaign objectives you’ve set.
Ensure that the candidate’s proposal includes a preliminary technical examination of your website to identify any issues that could harm your search engine ranking, such as broken links and error pages.
On-page optimization, or making your website as search engine friendly as possible, is another service that consultants should give. It entails optimizing your website’s URL and internal linking structure, as well as creating titles, headings, and tags for each page.
Also, inquire about “off-page” SEO methods, which involve promoting your material on other websites via blogs, social media platforms, and press releases.
Do you follow search engines’ webmaster guidelines?
You want a consultant that follows Google’s publicly publicized webmaster best practices, which specifically ban 12 typical SEO tactics, such as automatically creating spammy material and inserting false hidden text and links. If a candidate fails to fulfill those standards, your website may be relegated to a pitiful position in the search results. Worse, Google may remove it entirely from search results.
Google issues a manual action against a site when a human reviewer at Google has determined that pages on the site are not compliant with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate our search index. Most issues reported here will result in pages or sites being ranked lower or omitted from search results without any visual indication to the user.
Webmaster best practices are also posted by Bing and Yahoo, which consultants should double-check.
Can you guarantee my website will rank first on Google, Bing, and Yahoo?
Although it’s difficult to guarantee a top search engine ranking, some dishonest SEO experts offer such promises. If a candidate promises to have an insider relationship with Google or another search engine that will gain you priority search results ranks, consider it a red flag. Only Google, Bing, and Yahoo have control over which websites show higher or lower in their search results.
Do you have any expertise with optimizing local search results?
Small brick-and-mortar businesses wanting to attract nearby clients should prioritise being in the top local search engine results. You’ll want to choose a consultant that knows how to use local SEO tactics.
If your website is geared for “local SEO,” it should show up when someone searching for keywords related to your business in the area. To do so, a consultant should include your company’s city and state in the title tags and meta descriptions of your website, as well as register your site with Bing, Google, and Yahoo’s local listings, which are online directories of businesses that serve a certain geographic area.
Will you share any changes you make to my site with me?
Search engine optimization will almost certainly necessitate a lot of coding adjustments to your existing website. It’s critical to understand exactly what changes the consultant intends to make and how many web pages they’ll affect. Make it clear that you want the applicant to obtain your approval before accessing and altering your website code.
Will consultants, for example, add new title tags to your existing HTML code or edit the ones you already have? Will they write more text promoting your products and services in order to increase the amount of visible, on-page keywords relevant to your potential customers? Do they want to redesign all or part of your website’s navigation, as well as add new pages?
How do you measure the success of your SEO campaigns?
To determine the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, you must keep track of how much traffic is coming to your site and where it is coming from. Consultants should be familiar with Google Analytics, which can be used to measure changes in your site’s search engine rankings, the number of links from other websites that drive traffic to yours, the kind of keywords people use to reach your site, and much more.
Make sure to inquire about how often they plan to disclose these vital statistics with you, as well as how they intend to use the information to improve your website’s search engine rankings and traffic.
How often and using which method can we communicate?
The communication strategies and customer service standards of SEO professionals differ. You must pick someone whose technique is most appropriate for your requirements. Inquire whether the candidate likes to communicate in person, by phone, Skype, messaging, or email. Also, find out how frequently he or she will contact you for status updates.
What are your fees and payment terms?
Of course, you’ll want to know how much you’ll be charged, as well as whether the consultant is paid by the hour, retainer, or project. In the SEO consulting market, project-based payments are the most popular, and they can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of a project.
Other crucial payment-related issues include: How frequently are invoice payments due — every 30, 60, or 90 days? Is there a penalty for making late payments?
What happens when we part ways?
You should keep ownership of all of the optimized online material you hired the consultant to create after your contract expires or if you terminate it early.
As a result, make sure your contract specifies that when you part ways, consultants will not change or remove any information they added, changed, or optimized on your behalf. You should also inquire about any fees charged by consultants for early contract termination, and if so, include them in the contract.
Find out more.
Image by Canva.